THEY'RE a sweet, red taste of summer and they could be the latest weapon in the fight against obesity-related inflammation.
Clinical trials will start this year on the anti-inflammatory properties of sweet cherries.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that consumption of cherries can alleviate issues relating to inflammation, such as gout,” said Melanie Blackhall, from the University of Tasmania’s Faculty of Health. “However, limited hard scientific evidence exists, particularly in relation to sweet cherries.”
The university is collaborating with industry partners Reid Fruits and Essential Oils Tasmania.
In preliminary work with Reid Fruits, Ms Blackhall and her team found that certain types of cherries contain high levels of bioactive compounds, such as anthocyanins.
She said this work led to the current trials which are investigating the effect of the extract on the prevention and treatment of obesity-associated inflammation.
“Inflammation and the consequences of inflammatory disease are a major health issue for Australia and other Western countries,” Ms Blackhall said.
“Obesity, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases all increase inflammation in the body.
“As such, markers or indicators of inflammation have become one of the major predictors in the development and progression of disease."
Ms Blackhall said over the past decade a link has been established between the bioactive components of fruit and vegetables and their ability to have an impact on disease.